Making Of 'Seheiah'

In my artwork, I generally try to express a feeling, to tell a story... Seheiah is a bit different. I had been asked to illustrate August for a publishing firm. So I based my artwork on the idea of a kind of goddess in an antic style. I wanted it to depict a quite "fresh and radiant" feeling, a reminder of a summer morning. Thus I decided to include a wood with a lake above which my goddess would fly.

Step 1 Concept Sketch

Before I start with the composition, I choose the colours (background and characters) harmoniously. In this example I wanted the character to be very radiant, nearly unreal. Thus I chose a turquoise bluish-white and then chose a pastel pink for the basis of the wood and turquoise green for water to add some contrast and the idea of warmth to the composition.

Furthermore, I work on a very wide format so that I can work on details. Here, the original format is 7,250 x 12,000 pixels in 300dpi.

I lay and blend the colours on another layer so that I can always remember them. Here I don't pay to much attention to detail, with regards to the entire composition but rather to the overall atmosphere.

Tool: at this step, I use a hard round edge brush with opacity set to pen pressure.

Step 2 Colouring Process

When I have laid down the colours, I refine the whole composition, I add shadows and lights. As it's a summer morning, the light is rather diffuse, the shadows will be thus, rather light and overall it will be very radiant, especially the character.

I also add all the details of the wood, the wave and the hairstyle of the character (which is the most colourful element of the composition).

Tool: in order to blend the colours, I use the speckled brush on a inconsistent basis. The richer the colour is, the more credible the depiction is. I never use soft edges as I think they don't give any dynamism or life to the colour.

Step 3 Details & Texturing

Now is the greatest step of the composition: the texture. Basically, texture means life. Thus I give a texture to each part of the composition using various techniques depending on the element. Details are also very important, above all for the crown.

Evolution of the leafage: I use a custom brush to simulate leaves. There's no need to draw them one by one! I create many layers and superimpose the shades and forms along, until I am satisfied with the result.

This is the same technique for the water and the wave: I superimpose texture layers to obtain a "splash" effect.

I use the same technique for the sky: texture layer on texture layer. I generally use my own texture brushes. I use several brushes in order not to have a result that is too recurrent.

As long as the wood is concerned and especially the tree-trunks, I also use a superimposition of layers, many textures and shades.

Step 4 final touch

Once I have ended the textures and the details, I have to refine and add the finishing touches. I decide to add some colours and petals to set the goddess off well. I also put some reflections in the water to add a more realistic effect to the whole composition.

I also add some plants which are more detailed and contrasted than the rest of the wood in the vegetation.

I have add contrast to the dress of the goddess.

I finish the texture of the hair to give more dynamism to it.

Also, I have added some light on her face and the shadows of the locks which will give a more realistic depiction and harmonize the whole picture. The composition is now nearly finished, I only have some overlapping texture layers left to add to uniform the whole and add some extra shades =)

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